All hands on deck at La Durantie!

Stone pillars on the terrace in similar style to the 17th Century farm buildings

 

As temperatures reached thirty degrees in The Tarn this month, all hands were on deck to ensure the completion of the first houses at La Durantie.  Workmen are on site to complete a variety of different tasks, ranging from earthworks to plastering and painting. Significant progress was achieved on the first two houses, which saw the completion of the stone rendering on the external walls, the laying of the travertine flooring and the installation of the internal fittings well underway.

 

Installation of the elegant travertine flooring

 

Tiles added to the bathroom walls

 

Final checks before shower installation

 

First kitchen going in, Corduries model

 

Build is also progressing rapidly on the other hamlets at La Durantie, including La Cour Braucol, with the external walls and terracotta roofs of these houses now fitted. Work will start on the foundations and walls of La Cour Gamay and the foundations of La Cour Prunelard next week.  

 

Houses at La Cour Braucoul prior to stone rendering

 

La Durantie – Phase 1

 

The houses and communal areas at La Durantie will harmoniously bring together three different periods in history, each separated by two hundred years. From the 17th century stone turreted farm buildings to the 19th century belle époque chateau and the 21st century hamlets, La Durantie is an architectural wonder of history. Two hundred years later, La Durantie sits in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, resulting in the perfect mixture of history and nature with huge expanses of flaura and fauna right on its doorstep. Every element of the development will harmonise and bring together these three periods of history including colours, designs, materials, textures, red clay soil, oak beams, and the locally quarried limestone and sandstone. The shallow pitched terracotta roofs correspond to the same angles in the region blending seamlessly into the style of the farm buildings found in the local area.

 

Roses on the 17th century stone turreted tower at La Durantie

 

Shutters of the 21st century houses replicating the colour found on the 19th century Belle Époque chateau

 

As you can see there are lots of exciting developments going on at La Durantie. The first two houses are due for completion at the end of July with the remaining houses in La Cour Braucol anticipated by September.  La Cour Gamay is scheduled for completion in December and the next hamlet the following spring.

 

Keep checking our blog for news on La Durantie and The Tarn or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Le Tour de France Comes to the Midi-Pyrénées!

 

The renowned Tour de France will kick-off on the 2nd July 2016 from Mont-St Michel before concluding on the Champs-Elysées in Paris on the 24th July.  Stage six will take riders down the rolling hillsides of South-West France, before their hilly ascent to the Lac de Payolle in the Pyrénées Mountains at the end of stage 7. It is during stage six that the Tour de France will pass nearby La Durantie, through the Garrigue forest situated in the Tarn department before arriving in the town of Montauban (Tarn-et-Garonne).

 

The cyclists will ride through the Midi-Pyrénées during five different stages, a full list can be seen below:

 

  • 7th July 2016: 6th stage, Arpajon sur Cère – Montauban (187 km)
  • 8th July 2016: 7th stage, L’Isle Jourdain – Lac de Payolle (162 km)
  • 9th July 2016: 8th stage, Pau – Bagnères de Luchon (183 km)
  • 10th July 2016: 9th stage, Vielha Val d’Aran – Andorra Arcalis (184 km)
  • 12th July 2016: 10th stage, Andorra Escaldes Engordany – Revel (198 km)

 

The Tour de France is the third most popular sporting event in the world, after the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, attracting a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people per year. Chris Froome ranked number 32 in the world and Geraint Thomas ranked 36 in the world are two of the 29 Britons in the Team Sky (GB) line-up this year.

 

With the Tour de France beginning this July, The Tarn is set to become a popular destination for lycra-loving Britons seeking new cycling spots to explore. The area’s diverse and dramatic landscape lends itself perfectly to being discovered by bike, with endless cycling routes right on the doorstep of La Durantie.

 

Popular routes include the expansive Gaillac wine region or the “Circuit des Crêtes”, a 65km cycling route passing through some of The Tarn’s hidden treasures including the famous bastide village of Cordes-sur-Ciel built on a rocky outcrop overlooking vineyards and rolling hills. More adventurous routes include cycling through the Monts de Lacaune, a verdurous forest in the heart of the Haut-Languedoc Regional Park home to the Lake of Laouzas, a natural swimming lake perfect for cooling- off after a day of cycling in hot summer temperatures.

 

 

Cordes-sur-Ciel, © Le Tarn Tourisme | tourisme-tarn.com

 

Keep checking our blog for news on The Tarn and exciting developments at La Durantie or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


The UEFA European Championship shines a spotlight on the Tarn

 

Dozens of football teams will compete for the final of the European football championship in France throughout June and July, including the England, Wales and Northern Ireland teams. The matches will take place at different stadiums across France including Stadium de Toulouse, located just an hour away from La Durantie (87 km). As Britons flock the stadiums throughout France, the UEFA championship is set to shine a spotlight on lesser known areas of France, such as the Tarn. France is the second most popular place for Britons seeking a holiday home abroad, with the Midi-Pyrénées region also remaining a popular favourite.

 

The Stadium de Toulouse is the biggest in the Midi-Pyrénées region and is often referred to as ‘mini-Wembley’ because of its resemblance to the iconic London venue. In addition to football, the ground regularly holds rugby matches and was a venue for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.  Aside from cheering on your country, there is plenty to see in Toulouse, including the medieval old town, the elegant Capitole building and the Canal du Midi, which links the Garonne river to the Mediterranean Sea.

 

 

For all you football enthusiasts, here’s a schedule of the matches to be held at the Stadium de Toulouse during the UEFA European Championship:

 

- Monday 13 June, 15.00 (Toulouse): Spain v Czech Republic – Group D

- Friday 17 June, 15.00 (Toulouse): Italy v Sweden – Group E

- Monday 20 June, 21.00 (Toulouse): Russia v Wales – Group B

- Sunday 26 June, 21.00 (Toulouse): Winner F v Runner-up E – Match 6

 

Nicknamed ‘La Ville Rose’ in reference to the colour of the terracotta bricks used on many of its buildings, Toulouse is France’s fourth largest city. With regular flights to Toulouse Blagnac airport from UK airports, many Britons pass through the city on their way to the rolling hillsides of The Tarn. Boasting a dramatic landscape untouched by time, The Tarn is particularly popular amongst retirees or those seeking the tranquillity of the countryside. Home to undulating vineyards, the Aveyron Gorges, bastide hilltop villages and the winding Tarn River, France doesn’t get much more idyllic than the Tarn.

 

 

Keep checking our blog for upcoming events and exciting developments at La Durantie or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Homes in one of the sunniest regions in France

Sunflowers along the road to La Durantie

 

La Durantie is situated in the Midi-Pyrénées, one of the sunniest regions in France and has numerous natural lakes right on its doorstep. The region enjoys an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, with the average maximum temperatures ranging from 16 to 24°C during spring, and from 26°C to 28°C during the summer months. Autumn is also often blessed with a gentle Indian summer, with maximum temperatures reaching between 21°C to 25°C. From mid to late summer the rolling hills of the Tarn will be covered in a blanket of sunflowers for all residents and visitors to enjoy.

 

With La Durantie located just 600 metres away from La base de Loisirs Vère-Grésigne, a natural waterpark, residents at La Durantie can access a variety of water-based activities with ease. It features three natural lakes – a swimming lake with a large waterslide and life guard ideal for families with young children, a boating lake with pedalos and canoes, and a fishing lake. It also features a sandy beach perfect for some much needed relaxation in the sunshine.

 

The nearby area offers an array of outdoor activities for every generation, from gentle pursuits such as fishing in the many rivers and lakes in the area, to rambling or cycling through the wonderful gorges and valleys whilst taking in views of the surrounding medieval bastide towns. Water sports in the area include kayaking, canyoning, sailing, windsurfing and even stand up paddle boarding, now one of the fastest growing water sports in the world! Canoes can be rented from Variation, just outside the village of Penne, located 18km from La Durantie, with prices starting from €30 for a half day for two adults and one child. Here, residents can canoe down the dramatic Aveyron gorges, featuring sheer white cliffs and exuberant vegetation.

 

© Le Tarn Tourisme | tourisme-tarn.com

 

La Durantie sits adjacent to the Grésigne forest, one of the largest oak forests in Europe boasting 3600 hectares of outstanding natural beauty. Home to its own stables, riders at la Durantie will be able to delve deep amongst this unspoilt, hilly woodland. Situated 500 metres from La Durantie’s chateau, there will be 18 boxes for horses, one riding court and one lunging ring, laid out on a 30 hectare site comprising fields and woodland. Alternatively, there are a number of stables located within the forest offering horse riding.

 

© Le Tarn Tourisme | tourisme-tarn.com

 

Hiking is also one of the best ways to explore this beautiful area of South-West France. Miles of marked hiking paths by the ‘Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre’ make it easy to navigate through The Tarn’s unspoilt landscape and lush greenery. Popular trails include the vineyards of Gaillac, the hilltop bastide villages, the Vère Valley and the Aveyron Gorges.

 

© Le Tarn Tourisme | tourisme-tarn.com

 

As you can see The Tarn offers a wealth of pursuits during the summer time. Keep checking our blog for news on The Tarn and exciting developments at La Durantie or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Vineyard homes in the largest wine producing region in the world

 

Following the announcement of the new Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region, La Durantie is situated in the largest wine producing region in the world, in terms of surface area. Made up of 273,000 hectares, the area produces around 15 million hectolitres per year, under the wine labels Appelation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) and Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP).  Promoted under the umbrella brands Sud de France and Vins du Sud-Ouest, exports of these regional wines are growing rapidly, enjoyed in countries as far as China and The United States of America. See link to infographic here

 

This bodes well for home owners at La Durantie wishing to rent out their home for part of the year as the Midi-Pyrénées continues to grow in popularity among Britons seeking a holiday home overseas. Rightmove Overseas Search Trends illustrate that the Midi-Pyrénées has experienced a year-on-year increase from November 2015 – February 2016, in November (15.6%), December (29.8%), January (19.2%) and February (31.2%).  Similarly, the beautiful bastide village of Cordes sur Ciel , sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking vineyards and rolling hills, was among the top ten most searched locations in France on aplaceinthesun.com (in Spring 2016).

 

 

La Durantie sits on a wine domain, overlooking undulating vineyards and miles of oak forest, boasting its own wine label and discounts for home owners. Gaillac, just 10km away, is one of France’s première wine regions, covering around 2,000 hectares, with the first vine plantations dating back to Roman times. In 1983 the vineyards were among the first to be accorded the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, a French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses and other agricultural products. The geographical area of Gaillac is so varied, resulting in two very distinct vine-growing areas.  The left bank of The Tarn River tends to be planted with red varietals, whilst the right bank contains a higher proportion of limestone and granite, making it more favourable to white varietals.

 

The area offers an array of possibilities for wine enthusiasts, including tastings at Chateau de Mayragues or cycling through the expansive vineyards. One way to get around as many vignerons as possible is to drive or cycle the Route des Vins, with 112 vignerons producing Gaillac wine (AOC), including the Gaillac Fraîcheur Perlée, a semi-sparkling dry white wine, or the Gaillac Primeur red, known for its distinctive fruity taste.

 

As you can see The Tarn is an attractive region for wine lovers. Keep checking our blog for news on The Tarn and exciting developments at La Durantie or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Spring Renovation, Construction & Living

 

Renovation…

 

As The Tarn prepares for the sun basking spring months, the renovation of the belle époque chateau at La Durantie is  underway. In order to achieve the desired elegant interior design, some unwanted aspects of the chateau are currently being removed to open-up the bar area and entrance to the chateau. The cellar will then be damp proofed by digging around the whole exterior of the chateau and replacing the front steps with new stone steps.

 

The building will preserve its original parquet flooring, conserving the high-quality design found in many other French chateaus of this Belle Époque period. In order to keep the flooring intact the ceilings underneath will be removed and then reinforced.  Additionally, in certain areas of the chateau the flooring will need to be reinforced to accommodate for the number of people expected to make use of the chateau’s facilities.

 

The chateau will be the heart of La Durantie’s country club, drawing in residents and members from the surrounding area to share stories over a meal, attend courses and events, and simply relax in a friendly atmosphere. The spring months will call people outside for walks through the Country Club’s wildflower meadows and winding pathways, or to share an aperitif on the chateau’s very own terraces.

 

 

Construction…

 

In the chateau grounds, the first two houses have walls up and roofs on with with just the terracotta tiles to be added. The dry sunny weather has made working conditions more pleasant, whilst the environmental agencies are continuously working hard to conserve the area’s biodiversity, removing any stray frogs from the site and re-housing where necessary.

 

Irises in full bloom at La Durantie

 

Living…

 

With an average of 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, the Midi-Pyrénées is one of the sunniest regions in France. Spring comes particularly early to the Tarn, offering abundant sunshine and double figure temperatures from mid-March onwards.  The rolling hillsides of The Tarn will soon be covered in a blanket of fuchsia pink and purple blossom, providing the perfect opportunity for walks and cycling through the many bastide villages and vineyards of the Tarn.

 

With the arrival of better weather and longer days, The Tarn will soon be exuberant with village festivals and other spring events. The ‘omelette festival’ in the nearby village Larroque took place on Easter Monday and is a fun annual local event if you like to try something different! An annual flower show is also taking place on the 15th May in Sorèze called ‘Art et passion au jardin’, showcasing a variety of small flowers, rosebushes and aromatic plants. The town of Sorèze sits between the Canal du Midi and the Montagne Noire, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside at this time of year. Whilst there, make sure to visit the magnificent “Abbaye-école”, a former royal military school under Louis XVI which once welcomed some very prestigious names.

 

Aerial view of Sorèze, © tourisme-tarn.com

 

Another exciting event taking place in May is the Toulouse International Art Festival, a completely free festival, bringing you the very best of the contemporary creative art scene from France and abroad. Painting, sculpture, photography, video, performances, choreography and silent films with musical accompaniment will take place in some twenty locations around the centre of Toulouse. The venues can also be visited at night, guided by the beautiful city lights.

 

La Place du Capitole at night, Toulouse

 

As you can see The Tarn has plenty to offer during the spring months. Keep checking our blog for upcoming events and exciting developments at La Durantie or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Ryanair Introduces New Stansted Flights to Toulouse as it Becomes Capital of New “Super Region”

 

Soon after France announced its reshuffle of new administrative regions, Ryanair introduces a daily service from Stansted to Toulouse Blagnac to take effect in November 2016.  On 1st January France’s 22 regions were reduced to 13. The Midi-Pyrénées is henceforth joined by Languedoc-Roussillon, with Toulouse taking-over Montpellier’s title as the capital of this new “super region”.

 

New flight routes are an indicator of increased visitor numbers to a region and often followed by a surge of interest in holiday home ownership.  The new affordable flight route thus bodes well for La Durantie, a historic chateau development situated near Albi in the Tarn department, just 50 minutes (84 km) from Toulouse. With three different airline providers now offering services from London airports to Toulouse Blagnac, the neighbouring rural areas of Cathar country are likely to come onto the radar of more British Francophiles.

 

Cordes Sur Ciel © CDT TARN Laurent Frezouls

 

The newly merged region will soon boast combined economic prosperity as both Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon are leaders in research and innovation; specialising in aeronautics, space, agriculture and health. Toulouse is home to France’s pioneering aerospace industry, including the global leader Airbus Group and the country’s fastest-growing population, so it is no surprise ‘La Ville Rose’ has been elected the new regional capital.

 

Place du Capitole, Toulouse

 

Steeped in culture and history, this new region encompasses some of France’s “Grandes Sites” including the Cité de Carcasonne, the episcopal city of Albi (UNESCO World Heriatge Site) built around the original cathedral, the Gorges du Tarn and the Gorges du Gardon. It is expected that the eventual name, to be determined in 2016, will be “Occitanie”, a historical reference to varieties of Occitan spoken in both regions until the nineteenth Century, with the language still in use in some villages today.

 

Albi © Grands Sites MP D VIET

 

The master plan and architecture of La Durantie is inspired by the authentic village-style found in nearby Castelnau-de-Montmiral and throughout the surrounding region.  Designs feature gentle sloping terracotta rooftops, with the houses picking up colours of the sand and limestone used to build 17th Century farm buildings. Homes are being built on different levels in order to create realistic, staggered rooftop heights, as little hamlets are terraced into a south facing gentle slope.   Combining the best of old with new, top quality modern interiors provide luxurious comfort and each home will have its own landscaped private garden and pool.

 

Castlenau de Montmiral © Tarn Tourisme Frezouls

 

Keep checking our blog for news on The Tarn and build at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


First terracotta rooftop homes in progress

 

The first hamlet of four to six vernacular holiday homes is currently taking shape at La Durantie. The hamlets have been designed to draw neighbours outside to share an evening drink or meal on their spacious homes during the many sunny days in the Mediterranean. With the slabs now laid on five houses, the foundations are well underway for the first mini hamlet. The walls and roofs are due to be added in March, and the overall completion of the first five houses anticipated in May.

 

The homes at La Durantie will be crafted out of a blend of the best local materials such as stone, terracotta, limestone and wood. Each owner has selected from the choice of three colours of terracotta tiles, giving hamlets the varied tone seen in the nearby villages of Castelanu de Montmiral and Cordes-sur-ciel. The houses are to be built on different levels, terraced into the gentle rising hill in order to create a cascading rooftop effect. This will give privacy and views of the surrounding area to individual properties as much as possible, allowing residents to enjoy uninterrupted views across rolling hills, vineyards and expansive woodland.

 

 

As build of the first five houses continues, the excavation of the brasserie on the ground floor of the chateau is also in progress. Additionally, the developers at La Durantie have been working with two top local chefs to ensure spaces and appliances in the restaurant’s kitchen are fully functional, within the necessary constraints of a 19th century Chateau. Residents will be able to dine on the large outdoor terrace overlooking the pool and gardens, or at a unique glass table through which they can peer down into what was once the château’s well. Here, they can sample some of the best and most inventive dishes from local chefs in the Tarn region accompanied with fine wines from France and beyond, including wine from La Durantie’s own vineyard.

 

 

The houses at La Durantie will also come with efficient rainwater management. Natural practices will minimise the risk of storm events like those seen in the UK in recent months and provide superb water quality for residents. A system of natural ditches connected to the development and a nearby retention lake will allow rainwater to soak away at a natural rate rather than impacting the new homes and leaving the nearby flora unaffected. Unlike other residential developments La Durantie will not have any deep boreholes which often take surface water pollutants into the aquifers. Instead there will be three wells on site with superb water quality and the water quality in connecting rivers will also be carefully monitored.

 

With all in-hand owners can rediscover ‘L’Art de Vivre’ and appreciate why France is still the world’s top holiday destination. Keep checking our blog to keep track of the exciting developments at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.


Vous immerger dans un mélange de cultures et de langues à la Durantie

Le Country Club

 

Le château « Belle Époque »  de la Durantie va devenir le centre de la vie sociale de ce programme immobilier de luxe en devenant le Country Club. Il sera un lieu de rendez-vous, d’échanges et d’apprentissage pour les résidents mais également pour les visiteurs de tous les endroits de la région.

 

Les membres de toutes nationalités pourraient faire connaissance autour d’une activité commune ou sport, tels que le tennis, la poterie, et le volleyball. Le Country Club permettra également à tous les membres de profiter des événements, tels que  cours d’apprentissage de cuisine  et de partager des anciennes recettes paysannes accompagnées de dégustation des vins locaux. A la fin de la journée, le bistrot offrira une belle occasion de vous détendre et de faire la conversation à d’anciens et à de nouveaux amis autour d’un verre ou d’un repas.

 

Les Pyrénées

 

Ces nouveaux amis pourraient profiter des voyages locaux organisés par l’équipe de gestion, vers les terrains de golf, les monuments historiques et les villages voisins. Les voyages vers les villes et les régions plus éloignées seront également organisés, tels que la journée au bord de la la Méditerranée ou séjour de ski dans les Pyrénées.

 

Le Country Club donnera l’occasion pour les membres de toutes nationalités de partager leurs traditions et leurs cultures. Par exemple les résidents Britanniques peuvent découvrir « la soupe à l’ail de Lautrec », et les français peuvent découvrir le plat anglais, « Shepherd’s Pie ».

 

Les terrains du domaine seront idéaux pour les promenades d’hiver avec de nouveaux amis, alors que l’on peut profiter des longues randonnés dans la Forêt de la Grésigne, couvrant près de cent hectares de nature intacte et sauvage. On peut également découvrir la forêt à cheval et prendre des cours d’équitation avec des chevaux dans les écuries des proches environs.

 

Visitez régulièrement notre blogue pour vous tenir au courant des grandes nouvelles à la Durantie ou suivez-nous sur Twitter  @ChateauDurantie  et consultez notre page Facebook La Durantie.


Good Foundations!

Above: Laying the foundations of the first 10 houses at La Durantie

 

As the sun continues to shine in the Tarn with temperatures in double figures, work continues in earnest at La Durantie. Foundations are currently being laid and the completion of the first 10 houses is on track for the early spring of 2016.

 

The foundation preparation for each house is very intricate in order to build the houses on different levels and achieve a similar style of nearby villages, such as Cordes-sur-ciel and Castelanu de Montmiral.

 

Above: Choosing lining colours for the pool

 

Keep checking our blog to keep track of the exciting developments at La Durantie, or follow us on Twitter @ChateauDurantie and like our Facebook page La Durantie.